Classically, there are considered to be four boxes of Liberty. The four in ascending order of vigor are soap box, ballot box, jury box, and bullet box. Each deserves a bit of discussion here before we get what lies beyond them.
The soap box leans on the theory that oratory can persuade the electorate or public officials to maintain a reasonable course of action. This assumes a lack of understanding exists alongside a willingness to listen and be educated. Unfortunately, there is a growing lack of those two things, certainly of them occurring alongside each other, especially as our politics becomes more entrenched with each side shouting over the another. The common man can no longer use the soap box to make a point.
The ballot box weighs on the idea that many are unwilling to publicly debate weighty topics for fear of retribution in the public square. They will, however, use the power of the secret ballot to vote their true convictions. With the rise of not very subtle ballot engineering (voter fraud), this endeavor has also lost some of its luster.
The jury box is a euphemism for the broader aspect of the courts. On one side, it is referred to as taking your chances with a jury of 12 of your peers or jury nullification for poor laws or political prosecutions. On the other side, it is generally referring to the District, Appellate Courts, and ultimately the Supreme Court keeping the country on a correct, legal, constitutional track. With court packing, barring of the concept of jury nullification, and many courts taking an activist stance or refusing to grant standing on important cases, this is a far less certain method of Liberty and justice.
This is the last and ultimate box of Liberty. In large part, this is why the Framers’ demanded inclusion of the Second Amendment. Our Founding Fathers knew quite well the overbearing burden of tyranny and the natural right of a free people to revolt against such tyranny. They themselves lived through it. Their efforts beat the odds and created a society significantly better than the one they overthrew. This positive outcome is not the way to bet, however.
Many people on both sides of our political divide view our country as heading directly toward the last of the four Liberty boxes. A not so tiny group is actively working toward achieving that end.
The Framers of our Constitution were not unaware of the possibility of the system they so painfully assembled being corrupted. They provided two methods of redress for the Constitution and the country without resorting to the bullet box. The first method, the amendment process, has been successfully used 27 times. The first ten times gave us our Bill of Rights, and over the past couple of centuries we have used the regular amendment process an additional 17 times.
There is another method called for in the Constitution. It is most often referred to as an Article V Convention of States. This is a more open-ended method of redress than the normal amendment process. It allows for amendments on more than one specific topic.
The full text:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
A Convention of States would be called when 34 state legislatures approve applications. Any proposed changes to the Constitution would require 38 states to approve them. This has almost zero likelihood of it becoming a complete reset or a runaway convention. It does provide an opportunity to give redress, fine tune, and rebuild some of the structures initially built into our Constitution. These redresses are also able to be done in a much broader sense as many topics can be worked on, although each will be individually yay or nay voted.
Probably more important, an Article V Convention is a box we can place between the jury box and the bullet box. This is hugely important as the mainstream media fans the flames of discord and pushes many toward that ultimate box.
On the rare occasion the legacy media covers this effort, they routinely position it like the Constitutional Convention of 1787, pointing out how that convention completely scrapped the Articles of Confederation.
Our Founding Fathers were not idiots. They not only lived through that peaceful, yet dramatic change of the core documents for our country; they performed it. Thus they created requirements for 2/3 of the states to even convene a convention and ¾ to enact any changes.
We currently stand at 14 states having passed an application to convene an Article V convention. Eight other states have passed it in one chamber of their legislature. Twelve others have active legislation in 2019. We will not make the 34-state minimum in 2019, as there is no chance all of these states will enact an application this year. However, if you become active in the process, the number of states that do pass such legislation will increase. Each state that passes it is a baby step of hope.
This is the best hope to ensure a peaceful method of restoring our country and our Constitution to rational moorings.
Where do you think we are on the four boxes of liberty continuum? Do you think we are closer to the soap box or bullet box? Why? Share your answers in the comment section.
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